Lisa, Dave, and I packed an overnight night bag and headed to Tokyo on Monday. I made us reservations at the New Sanno so we could enjoy two full days in Tokyo. Our first stop was in Ebisu at Pizzeria da Michele.

This restaurant is definitely one of my favorites in Tokyo and I’m happy to share it with friends who are visiting and friends who live in Japan. My patronage to the restaurant has not gone unnoticed. In fact, our waitress recognized me! I’m sure they appreciate the stream of customers I bring in from all around the world!

After lunch we worked our way along the Yamanote Line. Our first stop was at the Tokyo Metropolitan Building. Unfortunately, I was a little too confident in my tour guide ability. Turns out, the Tokyo Metropolitan Building is closed on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month. I gave my sincerest apologies and we continued on to Harajuku.

Followed by several crossings of the Shibuya scramble.

While in Shibuya, we stopped at KIRIN City for a beverage and appetizers. I have passed this KIRIN location so many times. I was happy to finally have the opportunity to stop.

After shopping through the seven-story Tokyu Hands, we worked our way over to Roppongi. Here we were able to visit the Tokyo City View. I was relieved the building was open. We were able to enjoy a beautiful night view of the city.

By this point, we were all feeling a little tired and ready to head back to the New Sanno. Dinner was delicious American cuisine from the bar at the New Sanno. Sometimes it’s good to get a little taste of home. As we were eating, we tried to count how many trains we caught throughout the day. It was an impossible task! Needless to say, we train hopped around the west side of the city! It was a packed day!

Tuesday morning we agreed to meet at 7:30 in the lobby of the hotel. We wanted to visit Senso-ji Shrine and Kappabashi (kitchen Town). It would take about an hour to get there from the New Sanno. In hindsight, we probably should have waited until 8:00 or 8:30. We ended up being right in the middle of rush hour. The trains were packed beyond imagination or comfort. At several stations, train pushers were helping people get on the trains. Dave took a selfie of us all jammed together.

As we got further out from city center, the trains were significantly less crowded. To our surprise, when we came out of the station near the Shrine, it had started raining! Dave bought us all umbrellas and off we went!

Many of the stores had not opened yet. It was fun to see the different murals painted on the doors as we walked through the shopping area.

We walked around Kappabashi until we were just too chilly and decided ramen would make the perfect lunch. Lisa picked Ippudo ramen. It was warm and tasty.

We began our journey home with a stop at Tokyo Station. I wanted to share with them the beautiful building and this gave us a chance to transfer their JR rail vouchers into train passes.

The JR rail pass allows visitors with a 90 visa to ride the Shinkansen for free! It is a good investment if you’re planning to make more than one trip on the Shinkansen. Lisa and Dave are spending a week traveling around Japan. With the JR rail pass, their train travel is paid for already! I’m incredibly jealous. Dave and I have a SOFA visa stamped in our passport allowing us to stay in Japan longer than 90 days and making us ineligible for the rail pass. I’ll look forward to hearing all about their trip when they return! But, first I’ll tell you about our Wednesday in Yokohama- tomorrow. ?